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moantain in the same direction. We will begin where the summit hangs over the middle part, and labour upward till we shall issue out beyond the prominence.”
The eyes of the prince, when he heard this proposal, sparkled with joy. The execution was easy, and the success certain.
No time was now lost. They hastened early in the morning to choose a place proper for their mine. They clambered with great fatigue among crags and brambles, and returned without having discovered any part that fayoured their design. The second and the third day were spent in the same manner, and with the same frustration. But on the fourth they found
small cavern, concealed by a thicket, where they resolved to make their experiment.
Imlac procured instruments proper to hew stone and remove earth, and they fell to their work on the next day with more eagerness than vigour. They were presently exhausted by their efforts, and sat down to pant upon the grass. The prince, for a moment, appeared to be discouraged. “Sir," said his companion,
practice will enable us to continue our labour for a longer time: mark, however, how far we have ad. vanced, and you will find that our toil will sometime have an end. Great works are performed, not by strength, but perseverance : yonder palace was raised by single stones, yet you see its height and spaciousness. He that shall walk with vigour three hours a day will pass in seven years a space equal to the cir.cumference of the globe."
They returned to their work day after day, and, in a short time, found a fissure in the rock, which enabled them to pass far with very little obstraction. This Rasselas considered as a good omen. “Do not disturb your mind,” said Imlac, “ with other hopes or fears than reason may suggest: if you are pleased with prognostics of good, you will be terrified likewise with tokens of evil, and your whole life will be a prey to superstition. Whatever facilitates our work is more than an omen, it is a cause of success. This is one of those pleasing surprises which often happen to active resolution. Many things difficult to design prove easy to performance."
Rasselas and Imlac receive an unexpected Visit.
They had now wrought their way to the middle, and solaced their toil with the approach of liberty, when the prince coming down to refresh himself with air, found his sister Nekayah standing at the mouth of the cavity. He started and stood confused, afraid to tell his design, and yet hopeless to conceal it. A few moments determined him to repose on her fidelity, and secure her secrecy by a declaration without re
« Do not imagine,” said the princess, “ that I came hither as a spy: I had long observed from my window, that you and Imlac directed your walk every day towards the same point, but I did not suppose you had any better reason for the preference than a cooler shade, or more fragrant bank; nor followed you with any other design than to partake of your conversation. Since then not suspicion but fondness has detected you, let me not lose the advantage of my discovery. I am equally weary of confinement with yourself, and not less desirous of knowing what is done or suffered in the world. Permit me to fly with you from this tasteless tranquillity, which will yet grow more loathsome when you have left me. You may deny me to accompany you, but cannot hinder me from following."
The prince, who loved Nekayah above his other sisters, had no inclination to refuse her request, and grieved that he had lost an opportunity of shewing his confidence by a voluntary communication. It was therefore agreed, that she should leave the valley with them; and that, in the mean time, she should watch lest any other straggler should by chance or curiosity follow them to the mountain.
At length their labour was at an end : they saw light beyond the prominence, and, issuing to the top of the mountain, beheld the Nile, yet a narrow current, wandering beneath them.
The prince looked round with rapture, anticipated all the pleasures of travel, and in thought was already transported beyond his father's dominions. Imlac,
though very joyful at his escape, had less expectation of pleasure in the world, which he had before tried, and of which he had been weary.
Rasselas was so much delighted with a wider horizon, that he could not soon be persuaded to return into the valley. He informed his sister that the way was now open, and that nothing now remained but to prepare for their departure.
The Prince and Princess leave the Valley, and see
The prince and princess had jewels sufficient to make them rich whenever they came into a place of commerce, which, by Imlac's direction, they hid in their clothes, and, on the night of the next full moon, all left the valley. The princess was followed only by a single favourite, who did not know whither she was going
They clambered through the cavity, and began to go down on the other side. The princess and her maid turned their eyes towards every part, and seeing nothing to bound their prospect, considered themselves in danger of being lost in a dreary vacuity. They stopped and trembled. “I am almost
afraid," said the princess, “ to begin a journey of which I cannot perceive an end, and to venture into this immense plain, where I may be approached on every side by men whom I never saw.” The prince felt nearly the same emotions, though he thought it more manly to conceal them.
Imlac smiled at their terrors, and encouraged them to proceed; but the princess continued irresolute till she had been imperceptibly drawn forward too far to return.
In the morning they found some shepherds in the field, who set some milk and fruits before them. The princess wondered that she did not see a palace ready for her reception, and a table spread with delicacies; but, being faint and hungry, she drank the milk and eat the fruits, and thought them of a higher favour than the products of the valley.
They travelled forward by easy journeys, being all unaccustomed to toil and difficulty, and knowing that though they might be missed, they could not be pursued. In a few days they came into a more populous region, where Imlac was diverted with the admiration which his companions expressed at the diversity of manners, stations, and employments, Their dress was such as might not bring upon them the suspicion of having any thing to conceal, yet the prince, wherever he came, expected to be obeyed, and the princess was frighted, because those who came into her presence did not prostrate themselves. Imlac was forced to observe them with great vigilance, lest they should betray their rank by their unusual behaviour, and de